Candidates Line Up to Challenge Spanberger in Virginia Midterms

Taylor Keeney for Congress


Former Governor Bob McDonnell communications staffer Taylor Keeney is running for the GOP nomination in Virginia’s Seventh Congressional District. Keeney is the second GOP candidate to announce a campaign for the seat in July; Tina Ramirez announced her candidacy earlier in July.

“I’m tired of the same career politicians failing to flip the seat from blue back to red. That’s why I’m running for Congress,” Keeney said in an announcement video Wednesday.

Both candidates have founded non-profits.

In 2019, Keeney launched non-profit Little Hands Virginia (LHV) to use donations and fundraising to source necessary baby items for babies up to three years old and their mothers in Richmond and surrounding regions. In April, Keeney told WTVR that after the pandemic, LHV helped 91 children in March.

Ramirez is the founder of Hardwired Global, a Richmond-based NGO focused on training international indigenous leaders to fight for freedom of thought, conscience, religion, and belief. Ramirez has also served as a foreign policy advisor for congressmen and worked for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Ramirez also ran for the nomination in 2020 but lost to Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper).

According to Ballotpedia, two other candidates, Gautam Barve and John Castorani have filed paperwork to run for the nomination. In 2022, the GOP nominee will challenge incumbent Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger (D-Virginia-07.)

In 2018, Spanberger defeated Republican incumbent Dave Brat 176,079 to 169,295, flipping a seat held by Republicans since 1971, according to Ballotpedia. In 2020, Spanberger defeated Freitas 230,893 to 222,623. Reflecting the purple composition of her district, Spanberger is building an image as a maverick moderate.

Following the 2020 election, Spanberger gained national attention by criticizing Democrats for House losses due to unpopular progressive messaging that hurt Democrats in moderate districts. She also broke with most House Democrats by voting against Nancy Pelosi for Speaker of House in January.

However, the president’s party typically loses House seats in midterm elections, and Republicans are hoping to use dissatisfaction with Democratic policy to regain control of the House of Representatives by aiming at moderate districts like Virginia’s seventh.

“Abigail Spanberger is voting lockstep with Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden for policies that are creating burdensome regulations for small businesses who are already hurting from COVID, politicizing and downgrading our education system, and making our elections less secure. Spanberger has worked only for herself, the lobbyists that fund her, and her boss, Nancy Pelosi,” Ramirez said in her July 1 announcement.

“The way I see it, there are two Abigail Spanbergers: candidate Spanberger who will say anything to get elected, and Congresswoman Spanberger. Deeply partisan, voting with Nancy Pelosi over 90 percent of the time,” Keeney said in her announcement. “I’m tired of Abigail Spanberger’s hypocrisy and the Democrats’ extreme agenda.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and the Star News Network.  Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Taylor Keeney” by Taylor Keeney. 








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